Namibia: Ideas for a Photography Street Excursion Across Southern Africa

Preparing is key when it comes to scheduling a excursion to Namibia — a accurate land of extremes that can only be fairly described employing hyperbole. As gorgeous as Namibia is, to get the most out of your excursion, you want to be well prepared and nicely structured. Here are my guidelines for bringing again the ideal wildlife and landscape pictures from a trip across Southern Africa. 

Push, Will not Fly

Most flights into Namibia land in Windhoek, the cash. There are a handful of direct flights from Europe, or you can fly via Johannesburg. By selecting to fly by means of Johannesburg, you can rent a motor vehicle in South Africa and drive to Namibia. It’s a very long journey — a bare minimum of two complete times — but you’ll get the opportunity to see the wonders of southern Namibia, which is an space that doesn’t make many itineraries.

Namibia is an experience improved by self-generate. If you fly from just one spot to the following, you may skip the spirit and scope of the land. Namibia is just one of the most sparsely populated nations around the world in the environment, and the distances are wide. To make the most of your time, a in depth itinerary is important to determining how extended you are likely to shell out on the street.

If you’re staying in any of the off-the-beaten-track lodges together the Hoanib Valley or Skeleton Coastline, a 4×4 is crucial. You will have to navigate riverbeds, salt roads, and sand roadways, some incredibly deep. Visiting the shipwrecks on the Skeleton Coastline necessitates driving on deserted beaches. There, you are going to need a motor vehicle with high clearance and robust tires. Even if you’re not heading into distant spots, a 4×4 is inspired the storms we drove by in Etosha, the country’s key nationwide park, would have pushed a sedan or saloon motor vehicle to its extremely limitations.

No person needs to get stuck in the muck. You can not really get out for a push in sites like this.

If you are going to Sossusvlei, particularly Lifeless Vlei, for dawn, you are going to need to generate your self or use a information. The tour buses don’t leave the most important automobile park right until immediately after sunrise. The path further than the primary motor vehicle park to get to Dead Vlei is finest explained as a sandbox, not a road, so make sure you are at ease driving a 4×4 and recognize how to generate in sand. If you deflate your tires a very little, you are going to get greater grip, and it is significantly less likely you’ll dig your self down to the axles. As soon as you have deflated your tires for the sand, make confident you have a pump to inflate your tires yet again for when you’re heading back out on the tarmac.

Eventually, don’t depend on finding up a map in Namibia or on accessing the online while you are on the street. The state is not as well signposted as you may possibly imagine, and cellular support is spotty at ideal. A great deal of the shipwrecks alongside the Skeleton Coast are really challenging to discover. Even on line maps won’t position you to certain wrecks. So, bring a map that you’ve marked up or just take screenshots of on-line maps demonstrating confirmed satellite sights of the ships you might be looking for.

Camera Equipment


Like a great deal of Southern Africa, Namibia’s wildlife viewing is dependent all over waterholes. In Etosha, a lot of waterholes are positioned considerably from the path, and considering that you just cannot push off the track, at minimum a 300mm lens is important to capture wildlife portraits. If you have the finances, consider bringing an extender as very well. I took a Canon 300mm or 400mm f/2.8L along with a 1.4x III extender. Combining this with the megapixel rely of the new Canon mirrorless nicely let you crop in limited for portraits of distant animals, these as this worn out cheetah.

If you are bringing a 300mm or lengthier lens, never consider to handhold your shots. Brace on your own on anything solid — a bean bag will assistance you to harmony big lenses on your vehicle’s window or door body.

Rain Addresses

Be absolutely sure to deliver rain addresses to safeguard your cameras from the rain and from the sand.

Individuals wonderful particles are not pals to the electronics in your gear. Rain covers will also support if you conclusion up in a storm, which is probably all through the wet year. See my evaluations of rain handles, listed here and below.


1 of Africa’s most significant reserves, the NamibRand Mother nature Reserve, lies in a designated darkish sky maintain. Ailments right here desire a tripod and intervalometer to get continual and dynamic time-lapse shots. Newer cameras, yet again, have constructed-in intervalometers, which make packing considerably less difficult.


Browse up on the procedures if you’re heading to carry a drone. All drones will have to be registered with the Namibian Civil Aviation Authority and specified hotspots, this sort of as Useless Vlei, have pretty restrictive guidelines. I’d appreciate to have experienced a bird’s-eye view of the dunes and useless camel thorn trees, but you require to delight in these locations devoid of breaking the principles. This shot was taken around the Salt Works in Walvis Bay, with authorization of the landowner. 


Consider bringing a seem recorder if you have place in your bag. The sounds of the substantial seal colony and crashing waves at Cape Cross or the singing dunes at Sossusvlei are issues you’re heading to want to try to remember. If you’re shooting online video, it is undoubtedly really worth obtaining some adequately recorded audio to overlay your pictures. Namibia is notoriously windy, so splurge on a DeadCat windshield this will make all the change by deadening the sound of the blow.

Camera Options

Wildlife is normally a lot quicker than it seems. Even gradual-plodding elephants protect considerably far more ground than you would be expecting, never thoughts a quick-walking cheetah.

Double look at your shutter pace you really should be capturing transferring animals at quick speeds, close to 1/1,600th of a second. Anything slower is heading to greatly lower your keeper fee. Also, take into consideration halting down. I notice that soft bokeh is all the rage, but at a shallow depth of discipline like f/2.8, a cat’s eyes will drift in and out of emphasis as they breathe. Consider halting down to guarantee tack target. If you might be ready, get nearer to eye amount by way of a window as a substitute of a pop-up roof. This will support the background blur out even if your aperture is stopped down a little. 

Setting up and Itineraries

I know that we all consider to cram as a great deal in as probable, but consider spending additional than a person day at each individual location, as this will give you time to scout out your greatest photographs. For example, I’d recommend acquiring two permits for Kolmanskop, the ghost town that is now being taken above by the dunes. Wandering all around at dawn or sunset will be complicated if you haven’t scouted in daylight and so really do not know the place you’re likely.

Also, if you have the prospect, try to go to these outstanding areas at unique situations of the working day. Sossusvlei, for instance, justifies a check out in the early morning and the late afternoon. The switch of a several several hours tends to make it feel like a absolutely different location.

What Photos to Glimpse For

Namibia is residence to quite a few uniquely tailored desert animals, these types of as desert tailored elephant, lion, and giraffe.

Consider to seize the animals in their atmosphere to differentiate your pictures from these taken in other places on the continent.

As pointed out, and unlike east Africa, Namibia’s wildlife viewing is centered all-around waterholes. If you do not quickly see one thing, resist the urge to drive from hole to gap, be client. From my standpoint, this is a single of the most significant techniques linked to wildlife pictures. The animals need to have to drink, and eventually, they will arrive to the holes for h2o. Driving in circles means you’ll expend time on the trails when you could be environment up in wait around for the animals, and you could miss your possibility. If you can, communicate to a community expert about which holes are looking at the most motion in the course of your visit. It’s also not a undesirable concept to look at selecting a wildlife guide or spotter to make certain you are at the ideal locations.

While driving, contemplate stopping to choose images of signals and roadside sights. These b-roll photographs will assistance to convey to the tale of your vacation as significantly as a prized lion or elephant shot.

Editing Midday Sunshine

When you get to the editing phase, try out out a black and white edit to intensify textures. It’s generally great to shoot in the several hours close to dawn and sunset, but you are continue to probable to be out midday. Certain, the landscape and wildlife are colourful, but you may possibly be surprised at what the sun’s strong distinction can illuminate in black and white.

A Handful of Notes on Namibia’s Fragility

Namibia’s most stark and attractive places are fragile, so contemplate your effect.

  • Remain on the roadways or authorised tracks to stay away from destroying lichen that could be hundreds of years aged.
  • The trees at Lifeless Vlei are not props. Do not contact or lean on them IG is whole of fools undertaking this. At 600+ a long time outdated, they will split.  
  • Never graffiti or go away marks in the ghost towns: these places are not playgrounds. Respect the natural environment as it is, with out shoveling or throwing sand about to get “the shot.” Depart these fragile locations as you found them. 
  • Eventually, be aware of the place you stop to get out. Even the desert has lions and other unsafe wildlife.

All photos presented by enable us go picture.